Tales of revenge rarely have a happy ending, but Criminal leans on its influences a little too hard, as it tries to look all dark and gritty without having any genuine substance to it all.
Innis (Ian Dyck) is an overstressed security guard who sees society crumbling around him while he tries to go through the proper police channels to stop the stalker who is harassing wife. When things take a tragic turn, Innis takes matters into his own hands to clean up the streets and find a certain measure of peace for himself in the wake of the horrible things that he witnesses every day.
While quite obviously trying to give it all a dark and moody feel akin to a Michael Mann film from the 1980’s, Criminal simply doesn’t work because the weak attempts at stylization fall pancake flat due to a lack of actual story based substance.
Writer/Director/Editor/Producer Elliot Dawson-Clark tries to establish his characters in a rushed and blunt fashion, and it pushes them towards a conclusion with no emotional pay-off or even logic behind any of the events of the film. It just wants to hammer home that horrible things happen…just because. The film’s manufactured rage feels forced as the narrative takes such broad swipes at character development, asking us to take far too much on faith. It’s a film that seems to think that a synth music score and lots of driving at night, should be enough for a good film. Ultimately, Criminal tries too hard at everything and succeeds at next to nothing. (Dave Voigt)
Sunday, December 1st, 4:00pm, Carlton Cinema